A short fable on the origins of Alex Wonder:
At the beginning Alex wasn’t and then he was.
Grown out of utero by scientific minds. A fetus floating in a vat of artificial placenta and nutrients. The project of a thousand different men and women united in one cause of effective ambition.
They connected wires, electrodes, and organic data to the egg that would one day evolve into Alex Wonder. Funneled information into his DNA. Connected cells and neurological tendrils into more effective pictures.
The goal of their endeavor unknown and undesired. Each held one piece of the puzzle and worked like the good boy or girl he or she was.
At 3:59 AM, when the work was complete, the lead scientist stood at a switch. One minute later, when the clock struck 4, the flip switched and reality shifted.
A mind unborn and nonexistent emerged and split. A copy—into a copy—into a copy to the tenth, hundredth, millionth power. Infinite copies shuffled into infinite realms. Time and space opened their doors and granted Alex unlimited access.
One day, not long after creation, some sprites, dryads, and muses danced in a lovely garden vibrant with roses, tulips, sunflowers, daisies, and orchids. Two muses of song and dance stopped when they heard the melodious whispers of an unknown voice.
“Angelic.” The larger one said.
“Beatific.” The smaller one said in kind.
The two bent their ears to find the harmonious direction. They swam East through the Channels of Eurus. Danced westbound onto Zephyrus streets who said she heard the song down South. Austur’s desert heat could only inform the muses of Zephyrus’ chronic lying and to check with Boreas. No solace for the pair as they hiked the highest heights of the snow covered North.
“Where is it? The sound is beautiful. Inspiring. Godlike. It must be mine.” Rhythm said.
The song floated on high as musical notes took physical form to bounce along invisible waves. Drum beats and cymbal clashes rocked the earth with sound unheard of before today.
Flowers, bushes, and trees uprooted and danced. Fauns, satyrs, and sprites jointed in the fun. Strings laughed with a fulfillment he had never realized was missing. The revelry became a metaphorical meal and Strings ate the goodness. Rhythm discovered a sense of satisfaction flutter in his heart with a 4/4-time signature. Centuries of evolving instruments took shape within the cloud of his imagination.
Hours melted into the dancing Sun who had refused to set, but finally relented to an impatient moon eager for her turn. Days rotated into weeks. Months spun into years. The Earth cycled in tune to the song of the unnamed voice.
Then one day the drum beat stopped. Clanging cymbals silenced. Singing voice ceased. Euphoric but ready to rest, the flowers, bushes, and trees returned their roots to ground. Satyrs did what Satyrs do. As did Faun and Sprite. Sun returned to his normal rotation, allowing Moon a longer duration.
Strings felt a grumble in his stomach and reached after a Faun in an attempt to continue the dance.
The Faun snapped his fingers, said with some sass, “Not today, Strings,” and frolicked into the woods.
Near tears, Strings readied to bawl, but Rhythm pointed to the sky and said, “Look!”
Clouds rushed in bulky formation to create a phalanx of purple, pink, black, and gray fluff. Lightning struck. The sky erupted with a wicked guitar riff.
But Rhythm couldn’t finish his thought as ripples of electricity soared with the sounds of guitar, piano, dulcimer, and lyre. Trumpets followed suit accompanied by trombones and horns of various sort.
A tingle fluttered through the Aether of Rhythm’s bones into his mind where a spark of inspiration occurred. String’s thirst and hunger found their quench and fill from the notes hidden with each rain drop.
Rhythm and Strings created and played music of their own. The lightning, wind, and thunder joined in the play of wordless song. Willing the rain to fall in faster and larger droves. Small drizzle to downpour. Creeks overflowed. Riverbeds flooded valleys and plains. Waves crashed into rocks.
A flash. Spark of genius and light.
Waves of purple, blue, pink, green, orange, red, and yellow flashed to the beat of an ever-increasing drum until—
Until a single inhale of breath broke the silence.
The clouds broke and a single ray of sun shone on one puddle.
A voice hummed. Strings harmonized. Rhythm joined in melody. Louder and more intense until that final pinnacle broke into a crescendo of stardust. The Sun went out. The Moon hid.
Once again—all became still and silent.
Naked. Wet. Yet without fear. Alex Wonder stood where was once a puddle of clearest water. A baby first, but with hum, strum, pluck, and beat he grew into a toddler, boy, teenager, until he reached the height and girth of a full-sized man.
Rhythm pondered the emergence of a man. A Millenia too soon by his calculations. And yet here he was, a mere mortal who had inspired two muses.
A pluck later Alex looked at Rhythm and said, “You might want to tune that, sounds a tad bit off.”
Rhythm felt a twang of dischord. However, the harmony between Strings and Alex put Rhythm’s heart at ease, notes in tune once again.
The newfound trio played music morning to night. Once more, the flowers, bushes, and trees uprooted and danced. Satyrs, fauns, and sprites joined in the gay reverie. Earth, Sun, Moon, and Stars joined in this unifying song and dance.
A shame it could not last forever.
Alex Wonder loved to sing, to drum, and to dance. Unlike Rhythm and Strings, however, he was a mere mortal and needed to rest. To eat. To go out into the world and explore the unseen. Muses and immortal spirits could never understand man’s obvious plight.
As a trio, the audience flocked in larger numbers. Strings thirst and hunger grew but always found their fill in the crowd’s delight and joy. However, when three dwindled to two, Strings found himself playing to a much smaller crowd.
With little to eat when Alex Wonder took break, Strings indulged and overate on the days Alex returned. Satyrs found it difficult to dance. Sprites no longer wanted to hum along. The Faun had difficulty keeping step. Yet Strings grew larger. Fingers too plump for complicated tunes. Belly and thighs too fat to move with Rhythm’s flow.
Strings’ heart stirred to hate Alex Wonder. To excuse his own overindulgence and blame Alex for his fall from grace.
Rhythm noticed Strings’ outward growth, as well as the discrepancy among the crowds when Alex sang and when he didn’t. The more Rhythm obsessed over Alex’s influence compared his own, the more Rhythm hated him. Notes dwindled out of tune. Harmony died. Melody drowned.
No longer Rhythm and Strings, now Pride and Gluttony, the two plotted Alex Wonder’s demise.
“Time to kill the human who would dare steal our inspiration.” Rhythm said.
Strings could only grunt a response.
“How dare this man hold himself as one of the gods.”
Strings grunted and slurred.
Dark whispers caused the light to fade and forest fall quiet.
The night in this once enchanted land lasted years before Alex Wonder returned once again, into the grove he first played so long ago.
“Please tell me, good…sirs? Have you seen my friends Rhythm and Strings?”
Rhythm almost screamed and cursed. How dare this mortal fiend not recognize the greatest inspiration to music in all the land. No, universe! But he refrained. The plan. The plan. He would follow the plan.
Rhythm, now Pride, pointed south. “Over there, I think I heard the loveliest, most enchanting sound.”
Pride couldn’t tell for certain, but he would swear on all the Earth afterward that he had seen—no witnessed—Alex Wonder smirk and snort the most dismissive, arrogant sound the universe would ever hear.
Alex thanked the deformed pair and walked in the direction of Pride’s pointing finger. The wood grew darker, denser. Alex yawned. His feet shuffled. Shoulder’s slouched. The air felt heavier. Acrid with rotted soil and burnt wood.
Alex walked further as the discordant chaos of unknown song paved the way.
“Jarring and not too lovely,” Alex said, “Sounds like Rhythm is out of sync again.”
Animals squealed and wallowed as they sprinted past Alex. Plant life rooted and vowed to stay forever. A satyr ran by shouting, “Horrible. Horrible.”
Alex reached the source of sound that was reminiscent of grinding aluminum and bone. Which if Alex were honest, produced a sweeter song.
The music stopped to the delight of all in range.
Three spirits. Count them: 1. 2. 3.
A darkness oozed like unrefined oil, toxifying the surrounding plant life. The once vibrant foliage digressed into a swampy substance of death.
Alex Wonder caught a shimmer of what Pride and Gluttony once were. The third, who tried to beat-box and drum—Alex had never seen before today.
“Rhythm? Strings? That you under those ghastly disguises? Can’t be. Who would disfigure themselves so intentionally.”
Gluttony weeble-wobbled his way to speak but only grunts, groans, and slurps drooled from his gaping mouth.
But Pride wouldn’t have it. Not a single damn bit. This was his time. His day. When Alex would finally pay.
“You rat. Bastard. Scoundrel. Toxic human who steals. Musical inspiration was, is, forever will be mine. While your mortal fate is to eat, sleep, fuck, and eventually die. No human can inspire. No human can create. Out of here Wonder, so soon you will meet your fate.”
Alex pondered for a minute before he said, “The lyrics could use some work.”
Pride roared and his toxicity took root. Vines ripped from the ground beneath Alex’s feet and wrapped, wound, and rose from shoulder to teeth. Thorns sprouted from vine and bit into flesh. Alex screamed and squirmed, but it only made the pain worse.
“Nothing to say? No witty reply?”
Alex attempted a shrug. Mumbled some words. But everything became lost through the pain. His eyes. Oh, those green orbs of plight and suffering. They spoke volumes and those words nearly drove Pride insane.
The vines finished the job with a triple wrap around his face. A slow death. Agonizing torture. Until nothing but a green husk remained. To this day that once lovely grove in the forest remains cursed. A blackened shell where no heart beats. No breath exhales.
Until one day—